Runaway Train

Continuing in the ‘song lyrics’ series of entries, for reasons that may
become clearer later. Might be laziness. Might be another excuse for
storytime. Could be because it’s really late, and I get introspective
when it’s late. More than likely a combination of the three.

“Runaway Train” has the distinction of being one of the few songs I can
quote from memory, as it was one of my favourites during my formative
teenage years, and still is now. The first album that could really be
defined as ‘mine’ was a Soul Asylum tape. “Grave Dancers Union”, bought
in store in Montana, 1994ish, if my memory’s good. This was track
number 3.

I remember getting it (Dad bought it for me, I think) when I recognized
the song “Black Gold” from an NBA highlights tape. I ended up playing
the heck out of it.

It’s a sad song, but I’ve always found those to resonate more with me.
You empathize with people who are going through trials, through
difficult times (as opposed to ‘Bender’ from Futurama: “If it makes you
feel any better, my life is great!”). It’s why we sometimes don’t like
people who seem to have it all together… because we’re still figuring
it out ourselves.


Called you up in the middle of the night
Like a firefly without a light
You were there like a blowtorch burnin’
I was a key that could use a little turnin’
So tired that I couldn’t even sleep
So many secrets I couldn’t keep
Promised myself I wouldn’t weep
One more promise I couldn’t keep
It seems no one can help me now
I’m in too deep there’s no way out
This time I have really led myself astray

Runaway train, never going back
Wrong way on a one way track
Seems like I should be getting somewhere
Somehow I’m neither here nor there

Can you help me remember how to smile?
Make it somehow all seem worthwhile
How on earth did I get so jaded?
Life’s mysteries seem so faded
I can go where no one else can go
I know what no one else knows
Here I am, just a’drownin’ in the rain
With a ticket for the runaway train
Everything seems cut and dried
Day and night, earth and sky
Somehow I just don’t believe it


Got a ticket for the runaway train
Like a madman laughin’ at the rain
A little out of touch, a little insane
It’s just easier than dealin’ with the pain


Runaway train, never comin’ back
Runaway train, tearin’ up the track
Runaway train, burnin’ in my veins
I’d run away but it always seems the same


A song fewer of you will be familiar with, to be certain, but one that means quite a bit to me.

I’m out.


6 thoughts on “Runaway Train

  1. miguel_senchez

    Great song. I sang it in my head the whole way through. I know what you mean about 1) night time introspection, and 2) song writer empathy. It was cool to hear you say it. “He’s saying what we’re all thinking”. Great post and I like the song theme lately. Perhaps because we seem to have a similar taste in tunes. Mike

  2. Anonymous

    alf is awesome but what do you mean by he’s back in pog form? i know his shows have been released on DVD but what’s pog?

  3. atomic_spirituality

    My favourite memory associated with this song is the video parody that Weird Al did on one of his MuchMusic specials… instead of missing children, Al inserted music stars of Yesteryear (Huey Lewis – Missing since 1985, Right Said Fred _ Missing since 1991, that sort of thing)
    Still, it was a great tune, and one of those bands that did not receive as much credit as they deserved (you could call them the antiBackstreet Boys)

  4. Shnuff

    I’ve never seen the Weird Al video parody, but it sounds awesome. Forget to mention the music video, which had posters of missing children in it, as Shawn said. They took that out in later years, though… mostly just lead singer Dave Pirner walking around. Kind of lame, compared to the original.I did a Powerpoint presentation on Soul Asylum in grade 10, and heard them referred to as “the little band that could”. -DaveC

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